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Of passenger trains there are between ninety and one hundred arriving and leaving daily. In addition to these transportation facilities, the electric railway lines connect the community with neighboring cities.
Inducements to immigration are found in the comparatively stable demand for unskilled factory labor at fair wages, the presence of a large foreign population, among which the Irish, German, Swedish, Polish, Italian, Lithuanian, and Hebrew races are well represented, excellent school and church facilities, and fair housing accommodations at reasonable rents. Practically no obstacles to immigration exist. Transportation facilities from the ports of New York and Boston are good, the fare from both of these places is low, and employment can usually be found for a limited number of able-bodied and fairly intelligent workmen.
INDUSTRIAL HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITY.
As early as 1860 Community C was recognized as a thriving industrial city. In that year an article appeared in a local newspaper relative to the manufactures of the community. This village, the article stated, "has acquired some reputation for its manufactures. Its fabrics are familiar in all the markets of our own country, and exported to some extent to foreign markets." Thus, half a century ago, the community was known for its industrial activity. As expressed in another publication, “A locality aside from any thoroughfare of public travel, whose beginning had no advantage of capital or water power, or any material advantages for the prosecution of business,” it had made an entrance into the manufacturing world.
Manufacturing tendencies began to appear in this community as early as the end of the preceding century. It is interesting to note that its earliest manufacturers turned toward hardware, for to-day Community C is known as the “Hardware city” and stands ahead of all the cities in the United States in hardware manufacture. Previous to 1800 one of its citizens had made a few brass buckles, andirons, etc., and sold them to his neighbors. He sent his son, and induced two of his neighbors to send theirs, to Stockbridge, Mass., to learn the trade of brass founder, clock maker, and silver-spoon maker. The result was that two of these young men commenced the manufacture of sleigh bells in the city in the spring of 1800. Of this enterprise, Community C,a Patents and Patentees says, on page 7: “Which business was continued by them and their successors without competition until 1840, and was the leading business of the place until 1830."
The two small shops in which were manufactured sleigh bells, andirons, clocks, spoons, and harness and shoe buckles were, according to the same authority, the first shops for any manufacture designed for a market abroad, and that establishment was the first manufactory in the village and commenced in 1800. The market abroad was found in Boston, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia, to which places the manufactured goods were transported in saddle bags. As early as 1812 three individuals, one a jeweler from another State, began what was called the "plating business." They made wires by plating copper bars with silver and then drawing them into wires,
a Community C is substituted for the real name of the city.
which, like the bars, had a coating of silver and a core or body of copper. From this wire they made rings for men's overcoats, hooks and eyes for women's wear, and curb chains for bridles. This business passed into other hands and was greatly increased in variety and amount.
It is of interest to note that the manufacture of saddlery hardware is now carried on by a manufacturing company which is partly owned by a descendant of the same family as the early proprietors of the plating business.
In the year 1835 a partnership was formed by five of the community's citizens for the manufacture of plate locks. This was the beginning of one of the largest of the city's hardware establishments, although it did not assume its present name until 1850, when the hardware business of several small manufacturers of the city was bought, together with a hardware factory in a different State, and combined in one corporation.
In 1842 a partnership was formed by two individuals for the manufacture of furniture casters, cupboard catches, and other small articles. Out of this little establishment grew a hardware and cutlery manufacturing establishment, which was referred to by a local historian as “a firm known to-day (1903), in addition to other lines of hardware, as the largest makers of table cutlery in the world.”
In 1842 the manufacture of bolts, hinges, drawer and chest handles, etc., was begun in the community as an individual business. In 1856 a joint-stock company was formed to carry on this industry. To-day this company is one of the largest hardware-manufacturing establishments in the city.
An establishment which has been one of the most important factors. in the industrial development of the community had its genesis in. 1849, when a farmer lad, who had learned the trade of lock making in the city, formed a partnership with his brother and a skilled brass. founder. They began work in a small shop which cost, with the land it was on, about $600. The first venture of the new firm was the manufacture of ox balls, for tipping the horns of cattle. In a few years the business was in the hands of the two brothers alone, and in 1854 the firm was incorporated with a capital of $50,000. În 1879
In the manufacture of cabinet locks was begun by the same company. Three years later the cabinet-lock business was sold to a new corporation, organized to develop this branch of the business. In 1875 one of the largest hardware establishments in the city began the manufacture of screws. Two years later the company engaged in the manufacture of ox balls added a screw department to its plant. In 1891 the first company bought a screw factory in another State, and in 1903 all the companies engaged in this industry were merged into one corporation.
That special line of hardware known as carpenters' tools is represented by a large factory, which has branch establishments in other places, one of these branch factories being situated in the Dominion of Canada. The history of this establishment can be traced back to 1850, when a company was formed for the manufacture of boxwood and ivory rules. In 1853 another company was incorporated for the purpose of manufacturing try-squares and levels. In 1855 the box wood company bought the rule business of a firm in another city and removed the works to Community C. Three years later the boxwood
company was consolidated with the one engaged in the manufacture of try-squares and levels, and in 1862 a factory in a nearby State became the property of the combined companies.
Competition between the two large hardware establishments first noted was also lessened in 1902 by the formation of a holding company, which controls the management of these two corporations and exerts a strong influence in the industrial affairs of the city.
This is the brief story of the origin and general development of the principal establishments manufacturing hardware and similar goods. Other manufacturing plants of less importance have grown up, but the history of the founding of those enumerated above covers the formative period of the community as a manufacturing center and suggests the local initiative to which the industrial development of the locality has been due.
The history of the coming of the immigrant races to Community C is also, in general, the history of their entrance into the factories. By looking back to the beginning of the principal manufacturing establishments, it can be noticed that up to 1835 all of the city's enterprises had been small. Even up to 1850 there was no establishment of importance. The Irish came to the community about the year 1839; but not to enter the factories; they went to work first upon the neighboring farms. And the period of their greatest influx did not begin until about 1850, when the manufactures of the city began to show signs of real growth. The same year a few Germans came, and at once entered the factories as skilled workmen. Immigration had now definitely begun, and industrial growth as well. Between 1835 and 1860 five of the principal metal goods manufacturing establishments were founded and a sixth was of remoter origin. These six establishments, together with the lock company and the screw factory, bear to-day the following relation in number of employees to all the other industries of the community combined:
Employees. Eight establishments enumerated above a.
11, 279 All other Community C industrial establishments (48 in number).
3, 218 The relation, then, of these eight establishments to the industrial life of the city is apparent; the years of their early growth are thus significant in industrial history, and these years mark the real beginning of immigration to the community.
The period of greatest influx of wage-earners of foreign birth into
1902-1906 These seven races are the principal races employed to-day in the factories, and the above table shows the order in which they entered the city's industrial life. Roughly, these successive stages in immi
a These figures are for 1908 and represent average number employed. Taken from state factory inspector's records for establishments employing five or more persons.
gration represent industrial advances of the community; not always sharply defined, but indicated by growth in business.
Merely as an indication of the increase in industrial activity during the years from 1900 to 1908 alone, the following statement is suggestive:
Industrial development of Community C, 1900–1908.a
The figures of total capitalization for 1908 are not available, and the number of establishments for that year is probably too small, being made according to the state factory inspector's classification and not according to that of the Census Bureau, but the number of employees may be safely compared for the three years specified. From 1900 to 1905 the total number of employees increased 25.6 per cent. From 1905 to 1908 it increased 43.9 per cent, and for the whole period from 1900 to 1908 the increase was 80.7 per cent. Noting that the total number of American whites (and this means persons whose American ancestry, goes back two or more generations) in the city to-day, as shown in a preceding table, is only about 7,000, the significance of the immigrant in the industrial development appears. In 1908, 14,497 persons were employed in the factories, while only some 7,000 American men, women, and children were to be found in the whole city, or, in other words, nearly a third of the city's total population is in the factories, and five-sixths of the total population is of rather recent foreign descent. Thus it plainly appears how vital a factor is the immigrant in the industrial activity of the community. In this connection something further may be said of the effect of immigrants upon local industries.
To the immigrant, as has been suggested above, is due in large measure the great industrial development of the community. Without him the problem of sufficient factory labor would have been difficult of solution. The immigrant has gone into the factoriesfew of the males of working age are found elsewhere—and the growth of the factories has been made possible with each increasing influx.
The population figures of different periods of the last century are significant of the growing immigration.
1800. 1810. 1820. 1850. 1860. 1880. 1889. 1900. 1909.
982 1,000 3,029 5, 385 13, 977 18, 500 28, 202 44,000
These figures are for the entire township, which was consolidated with the city in 1905.
A3 the population has increased most during the past twenty years so has the greatest industrial growth been during this period.
Only one industry can be said to have been established by immigrants, the manufacture of metal trimmings for suspenders and garters, snap fasteners, sheet metal and wire goods. In 1888 one German, two German-Americans, and two English-Americans formed a company for the manufacture of these goods. The business prospered and increased in size, and while not one of the largest of the city's manufacturing plants, it is of considerable importance. Many other immigrants and children of immigrants have ventured into business, but this is the only immigrant in the field of manufacturing, and stands as the sole instance of a new industry established by immigrants. Of the many Community C patentees (and in 1900 there had been issued to the city's residents 1,447 patents), one of the founders of this company, a German by birth, had more than twice as many patents to his credit as any other, having taken out 113.
Beyond the boundaries of the city, however, in a neighboring town, is another industry established by immigrants. This company, which is engaged in the manufacture of brick, was established in 1905 by Italians, and about 90 per cent of the stock is in the hands of persons of this race, a number of the stockholders being Community C Italians. The paid-up capital of this company is $25,000; the annual capacity of the plant 7,000,000 bricks, and the average number of men employed is 20, with a maximum of 50.
So far as has been ascertained, it can not be said that any industry has been established or promoted because of the opportunity to employ immigrants. The fact that a large immigrant population has of late years afforded a comparatively full labor market may, perhaps, indirectly account for the establishment of some of the more recent industries. No large manufacturing establishments, however, owe their existence to this. Some of the factories have employed immigrant labor ever since their establishment, but it is doubtful if any of them were created because of the opportunity to employ immigrants.
No industries have been established or promoted because of the peculiar training or skill of immigrants, nor has the demand by immigrant consumers led to the establishment of any new industries. No such demand exists, at least not in a degree sufficient to warrant the embarking upon any new industrial enterprise. The number of immigrants who have become employers, except as proprietors of retail stores, is insignificant. No manufacturing plant of appreciable size, with the exception of the manufacturing company already referred to and the brick company in the nearby town, is in the hands of immigrants or their children. The Germans and English who established the former company, and the Italians who created the latter company, are then the only representatives of the immigrant races who have become, in any significant sense, employers.
The small employers, the retail merchants, usually employ persons of their own races, as their trade does not ordinarily extend much beyond their own racial or linguistic boundaries.